Hello there and welcome along to our live coverage of the Tour de France. It's stage 7 today, and we have a stage that takes us closer to the Pyrenees this weekend. It's lumpy in the first half, but the downhill and flat second half should lend itself to a bunch sprint. Hang on, though, this stage, running largely south west towards Toulouse, exposes itself to the local south-easterly Autan wind, which forecasts predict to be out in force this afternoon...
Here's the stage profile. The wind will be coming from the side for most of the day, and the run down from the Col de Peyronnenc is where things could get interesting. The route changes direction at Castres, tracking west but slightly north, which would turn it into a more of a tail-crosswind. It will all depend on the strength of the wind later on, and whether we have the exposed roads needed to split the race into echelons. The riders will be on high alert for sure.
The podium ceremony is well underway in Millau, and the riders will be rolling out at 13:25 local time, so in around half an hour. Christian Prudhomme will wave the stage underway some 10 minutes after that.
👋 Bonjour Millau 👋#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/jwPCRpksdESeptember 4, 2020
Before we get going, why not catch up on yesterday's action. Report, results, photos all in the link below.
Want to know more about wind? My colleague and certified wind nerd Ed Pickering has done a thread.
Cycling and the wind. A thread.The Vent d'Autan is forecast to blow on the Tour today. The locals say that it's a wind "qui rend fou"- which makes people go mad.It blows from the south east, in the opposite direction to the Tramontane, which blows from the north west.September 4, 2020
"I am probably the most nervous rider on the team this morning," says Groupama-FDJ's Stefan Kung.
That's because he's their big Swiss rouleur, whose main job is to protect Thibaut Pinot on the flat and in the wind. His nerves are understandable given we're not too far at all from Albi, where Pinot lost a chunk of time in the crosswinds last year. He was in despair after that, and Kung will need to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"I'm Thibaut's bodyguard, especially on a day like today," Kung adds. "It's very important to have a strong team around him, and my role is to make the decision of what to do and when."
In last night's communiqué, the race organisers warned of gusts of 30-40km/h today. That looks like slightly wishful thinking, but most forecasts I've seen have it in the high 20s.
#TDF2020 @tacx trainers before the stage...Expecting a fast start to stage 7? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/EEqXiyNnxkSeptember 4, 2020
Coronavirus talk dominated the build-up to this Tour de France, but we've not heard much of it since the race set out from Nice last weekend. Well, it has resurfaced after yesterday's climb up the Col de la Lusette, where numerous riders felt there were too many fans, getting too close, with too few masks.
"I could smell the beer from someone's mouth, so if they are infected, the riders riding next to them can also get infected," Thomas De Gendt said.
Some preview goodness from our friends at Procycling magazine
"At the confluence of the Tarn and Dourbie rivers sits picturesque Millau, which will send off riders near the Millau Viaduct, the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in the world, towards a day over lots of rocky hills and 'liquid' hills, otherwise known as the wind.
"Three categorised climbs are positioned in the first 100km, with the category 3 Col de Peyronnenc offering the longest ascent at 14.5km. After the Côte de Paulhe, just 1.1km in length, there is another lumpy section then 44 kilometres of leveled-out pavement into the finish town of Lavaur.
"The Tour has visited Lavaur twice, in 2001 and 2011, and the score is 1-1 between the break and the bunch. In 2011 Mark Cavendish won the bunch sprint, but in 2001 a group of 25 contested the finish that was won by Rik Verbrugghe."
The riders have gathered on the start line. It wasn't just Mitchelton-Scott on the rollers - plenty of teams were warming up this morning. That's usually a sign we're in for a fast start, with plenty of interest in a breakaway.
Two days ago, of course, we had no breakaway whatsoever, which Yoann Offredo seemed to take great offense at. Others reached for mitigating circumstances like the parcours, the wind, the difficulty of the stages either side, and the fact that even smaller teams have top sprinters and GC riders, but that wasn't good enough for Yoann, who famously attacked solo from 200km on the 2018 Tour.
"It’s the Tour de France! It’s the biggest race in the world!" Offredo exclaimed on French TV. "We had no racing for more than three months – you have to be up for the fight."
We're on the move - just rolling through the short neutralised section at the moment.
A run-down of today's jerseys before we get underway
Yellow - Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
Green - Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Polka-dots - Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale)
White - Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
It's an uphill start today, then a dip down, then straight into a cat-3 climb, the Côte de Luzencon (3.1km at 6.1%).
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) is at the front of the bunch as they follow the race director's car through this neutralised zone. The Belgian has become a bit of a cliche when it comes to talk of breakaways, but Lotto Soudal have Caleb Ewan for a sprint today and will prefer to set that up rather than seeing a breakaway go all the way today.
Prudhomme rises through the sunroof and waves us underway
No one attacks from the gun, but now mountains classification leader Cosnefroy is on the move.
No one's tempted to join Cosnefroy.
And now we get a reaction, as four riders clip off the front. It's far from an intense start.
Those four are quickly caught by the bunch. They never looked too committed to that anyway.
But now one of them, Michael Schar (CCC Team), goes again. Total Direct Energie respond - they look keener to go in the break today.
Schär makes it across to Cosnefroy as the road tilts downhill.
Lilian Calmejane is the Total rider stuck between break and bunch.
Cosnefroy and Schär hit the Côte de Luzençon with a lead of just 15 seconds. Cosnefroy will of course want to take the two KOM points at the top, but will he commit to a daylong break thereafter? There are more than 50km to the following cat-3 climb.
Cosnefroy accelerates 2.3km from the summit and Schär swings over and calls it a day.
Bora are on the front and are setting a strong tempo, looking to make it difficult here for the other sprinters.
It's working... Nizzolo is dropped, and now Ewan...
There's an intermediate sprint coming up at KM58, so Sagan will no doubt fancy that. Whether they can get rid of the sprinters altogether, considering that flat run-in, seems a much taller order.
Cosnefroy has just a handful of seconds in hand now as he enters the final 750m of the climb.
We've got flag-bearing fans on the road side and we can see the wind is blowing.
Mads Pedersen, Cees Bol, and Elia Viviani among the riders losing contact
Cosnefroy is going to get caught here!
The Frenchman is passed by the Bora train in sight of the banner. He launches a huge sprint and they just allow him to get his nose out in front to grab the two points. He gives a wave in thanks.
Green jersey Sam Bennett is also in trouble
🇫🇷 #TDF2020 all sprinters dropped. great teamwork from our boys 💪September 4, 2020
Ewan is in the last group on the road, with a couple of teammates. There's a long way to go but this could easily get out of hand.
Here's how Bora nearly robbed Cosnefroy at the top of that climb.
⛰ He had to produce a huge effort, but @BenoitCosnefroy manages to score the points at the top.⛰ Après un effort très intense, Benoit Cosnefroy prend les 2 points au sommet alors que la @BORAhansgrohe imprime un train d'enfer dans le peloton.#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/5uwfQryUUKSeptember 4, 2020
Bora continue the charge as we head downhill for a couple of kilometres before an uncategorised 7km climb.
All the GC riders seem to be in the main Bora-led peloton. Just the sprinters who are on the back foot.
Will the sprinters come back? If those small sprinters groups come together and they get teammates around them to mount a concerted chase, then yes. Bora are piling on the pressure still but surely they'd need help from other interested parties to take this the distance. CCC have Van Avermaet and Trentin who could profit from this, but do they have (m)any other riders in there? Trek-Segafredo have lost Pedersen but still have Theuns and Stuyven who could sprint from a reduced group.
Kasper Asgreen sits up in the lead group. It appears he's being sent back for Sam Bennett.
Bennett gives a thumbs up as the camera motorbike passes by. He doesn't seem overly panicked at this point.
That'll be because his group is just 25 seconds down, and he now has Asgreen to pull it along. Meanwhile, Bol and Viviani are in a third group at 1 minute, while Ewan, Nizzolo and Kristoff are at 1:25.
The Bennett group is coming back to the front group now.
It looks like Sunweb are sending more riders back for the Bol group
Bora are still riding hard, and we have exposed roads here...
Bennett's group looked to be getting back on, but Bora have eased clear once more. EF are leading that group, with Martinez in there.
We're on the uncategorised climb now and it's really biting.
The second group splits now! Bennett has Asgreen but Declercq is struggling on those gradients.
Deceuninck-QuickStep have a headache here as they still need to make sure they have some resources with Alaphilippe, as crosswinds could tear up this stage later on.
Bora have drive clear daylight into this gap once more. They still have almost their whole team on the front.
Bol and Viviani are now back with Ewan, Nizzolo, and Kristoff. That group is at 1:45 now!
142km to go
The Bennett group is at 30 seconds once again. It has reformed as we head downhill now, and there are at least 30 riders there.
Sunweb and Lotto are collaborating in the third group.
Sagan and his team are doing to everybody what Sagan and his team did to everybody on stage 7 in 2013.https://t.co/wRNZ591xlWSeptember 4, 2020
We're heading through more built-up areas now and we're back on flatter roads for the best part of 15km. Bora still on it.
This is Bora's line-up. It's hardly a squad built for the flat/wind or built purely around Sagan anymore. Buchmann is the GC leader, with Muhlberger and Grossschartner providing climbing support. Oss is Sagan's right-hand man, Postlberger is another rouleur, while Schachmann and Kamna can do a bit of everything.
21 Peter Sagan
26 Daniel Oss
136km to go
It's honours even on the flat as the gap between the main peloton and Bennett's chasing peloton holds at 30 seconds.
We're heading towards another uncategorised but (at this pace) nasty climb, then we descend to the intermediate sprint at KM58, then it's the long Col de Peyronnenc, which at 3.9% isn't the steepest but at 14.5km could well issue more damage.
Alaphilippe waves furiously at a moto camera in the lead group. He doesn't want any aerodynamic advantage for his own group, given he'd like to see Bennett return. Back in that chase group, it's Jungels and Cavagna burying themselves, while Bennett is a few places down the line with Declercq.
Adam Yates is present and correct in the lead group but Mitchelton-Scott have men in the second group, and they're riding with QuickStep. They need numbers up with Yates, for one, but also Daryl Impey is back there and could be a contender on a stage like this, if the pure sprinters are out of the equation.
131km to go
Bora are winning this battle! The gap grows to 45 seconds. Meanwhile, the gap to the Ewan group (with most other sprinters) is out to 2:30.
People had been complaining this Tour was boring...
The green jersey group slips back to more than a minute now...
Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) is reported in the front group. He's the only pure sprinter in there. Stage 5 winner Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is there, obviously.
Back out onto the exposed plains and the gaps grow to 1:10 / 2:45. The wind is blowing but it's more of a head-cross wind at the moment.
Jungels and Asgreen continue to toil on the front of the chase group but they're struggling against this committed and constantly rotating Bora unit.
The gap moves to 1:35 as the pace visibly drains from that chase group. Jungels is suffering, he looks around and sees Impey and other Mitchelton riders, plus Luke Rowe from Ineos, but there's no help from them at the moment. It's pretty much Jungels and Asgreen against the full Bora team, and the numbers are counting.
We're on that uncategorised climb now and there are once again some really nasty gradients.
The gap continues to grow. 1:45 now. Meanwhile, Ewan and co are at 3:30.
Sorry for another Pickering tweet but the man is on form today.
Anybody know the last time a stage went without a breakaway going?September 4, 2020
Want to watch this madness? Of course you do. Here's how.
115km to go
We've come to the top of that uncategorised climb and we're now heading downhill. 5km to the intermediate sprint, where Sagan will help himself.
Trentin is in this group and has shown an interest in intermediate sprints before today. Can't see too much other competition for Sagan. Coquard maybe.
Julian Alaphlippe not happy with the moto. Or with me, I can't tell. #TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/hOFQBjquPwSeptember 4, 2020
The green jersey group is now more than two minutes down. Ewan's third group is at 4:20.
Time for the sprint then. Bora still in full force on the front. Trentin and Coquard move up
Trentin hits the front and Sagan responds. It's neck-and-neck on the line, with Coquard third.
Trentin nicks it, picking up 20 points to Sagan's 17.
Alaphilippe accelerated there as well, presumably to try and scoop some points away from the others in defence of Bennett's green jersey, but he was never going to trouble Sagan and Trentin.
109km to go
And now we're climbing again!
The Col de Peyronnenc (14.5km at 3.9%) begins right after the sprint. Bora lead the large front peloton, 2:15 ahead of a 31-rider group that contains Sam Bennett and Martinez, and 4:50 ahead of a third group that contains Caleb Ewan and most of the other sprinters.
Jumbo-Visma have seven of their eight riders in the front group, in another strong display from the Dutch team. However, it's their best flat-land/crosswind rider, Tony Martin, who's behind in the second group.
Ineos, meanwhile, have six riders up front and, like Jumbo, it's their best echelon rider who's behind, with Luke Rowe in the second group. Pavel Sivakov, who's been struggling since his crash on the opening day, is back in the third group.
What a ride this is from Bora, who've been on the front all day. On current evidence, they deserve their rewards today. Watch Wout Van Aert mug them off at the finish...
Still, there's plenty that can happen on the rest of this stage, with the potential for crosswind damage later on. So far it's the sprinters who've been hurt but this could well still turn out to be a big GC day.
105km to go
At 5:30, it appears Ewan, Nizzolo, Kristoff, Viviani, and Bol are completely out of the equation. At 2:40 now, it doesn't look good for Bennett and co.
Bora appear to have looked at the gaps and relaxed a little. They haven't knocked it off, and it's still a strong rhythm on this climb, but the sense of urgency has waned slightly. The Bennett group has found a touch more group at 2:27.
This is how the intermediate sprint played out
💚 Second at the intermediate sprint behind @MATTEOTRENTIN, @petosagan is now virtually in green again!💚 Deuxième au sprint derrière Trentin, Peter Sagan a virtuellement repris le maillot vert !#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/RIlUJHV4geSeptember 4, 2020
Yesterday was a non-event as far as the GC is concerned but there was one interesting development, as Bauke Mollema claimed he heard Egan Bernal yelling at Michal Kwiatkowski to slow down as the sprinted for the line. The Colombian came into the race with a back injury and there have been doubts about his fitness. More on that here.
Tom Dumoulin has a problem of some sort and has to stop for a bike change.
Dumoulin will have no problem getting back through the cars and up to the bunch, 6.5km from the top of this climb.
100km to go
Into the final 100km, and we have a quieter moment, so let's re-cap.
It was a quiet first few kilometres but then Bora lit it up on the first climb, dropping most of the sprinters, and never letting up since on the undulating roads. The race has split in three as a result, with Sam Bennett in a 31-rider chase group that was just 20 seconds down at one point but is now at nearly 3 minutes. Jungels and Asgreen have toiled for Bennett in that group but were no match for the full-squad Bora charge. The rest of the pure sprinters - Ewan, Nizzolo, Kristoff, Bol, Viviani, but not Bryan Coquard - are in the third group, which is now 6 minutes down and out of the picture.
We still have a long way to go and crosswinds and exposed roads later on, so the drama is far from over...
Declercq is on the front of the chase group on this climb, 3km from the top. That gives Asgreen and Jungels a break, but the big Belgian is not going to be able to eat into this gap. 3:30 now and it's only going one way.
They come to the top of the Col de Peyronnenc, and Coquard's B&B team take over at the front of the lead group. That's the first time any team other than Bora have been on the front.
Attack from De Gendt! The Belgian clips off in sight of the KOM banner and takes the two points on offer. Was that just for the points or is he planning a break? Ewan, remember, is out of the equation at nearly 7 minutes.
De Gendt is pushing on... This would be outrageous
92km to go
Bora take over from B&B once more, and Oss raises the pace.
Meanwhile, Jungels takes the Bennett group over the top of the climb, 4 minutes in arrears and surely without hope now.
🇧🇪 And we have a @DeGendtThomas breakaway alert at the top of the Col de Peyronnenc!🇧🇪 Alerte échappée de Thomas De Gendt au passage du Col de Peyronnenc !#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/ULegkykDXeSeptember 4, 2020
Huge blow for Bennett's green jersey campaign. He would have absolutely needed every single point. Sagan took 17 points from intermadiate sprint and bypassed Bennett by 5 points. TOP15 at stage finish: 50-30-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2. #TDF2020September 4, 2020
De Gendt is alone out front, with a lead of 16 seconds. There are a fair few false flats and a couple more actual climbs but this is a largely downhill run to Castres.
Sean Kelly can't get his head around De Gendt's move in the Eurosport studio. "An amateur move", he calls it. He's similarly unimpressed/perplexed by the absence of Bennett - his fellow Irishman and Carrick-on-Suir native - from this front group. "Coquard is there!" he exclaims, concluding Bennett must be on a bad day.
Crash in the lead group. Hugo Hofstetter (Israel) hits the deck, along with Marc Soler (Movistar). They're both back on their bikes.
78km to go
De Gendt continues to dangle in front of that lead peloton, 20 seconds ahead now. It's B&B who are rotating consistently with Bora now. The Ewan group is at 8 minutes but the Bennett group is still not throwing in the towel, at 4:30, so Coquard's men want to make sure.
71km to go
De Gendt hits the Côte de Paulhe (1.1km at 7%), the final categorised climb of the day. He has stretched his lead out to 27 seconds.
De Gendt reaches the top. It's a cat-4 climb so that's another KOM point to add to his two from the previous climb.
The lead peloton comes over the top 35 seconds later.
Project Fear. That's what Philippa York is calling Jumbo-Visma's influence on this race so far.
"There's not quite the feeling of the race being held in check until Roglic and company decide it's time to ‘go’ but there's certainly a reticence hanging over everyone to show what they've got as we approach the end of the first week."
Hang on, though. Bradley Wiggins says Dave Brailsford won't let Ineos be bullied, describing their decidedly steady tempo on the Col de la Lusette as "a statement of intent". Full story.
63km to go
It was chaotic for so long but things have calmed down, even if the pace hasn't been totally knocked off. We have three groups on the road still, but they're so far apart that no one believes anymore that they'll ever come back together.
De Gendt continues to carve out an advantage as a result of the slower tempo. He has 42 seconds now.
We're just under 15km from Castres, where the road flattens out but where the wind picks up and the roads are more exposed. The wind is certainly blowing, but not blowing a gale. It seems to be mostly an almost direct tailwind, rather than a proper cross-tail.
De Gendt had 50 seconds a moment ago but now he's been brought back to 36 seconds as Bora pick it up once more.
It seems the wind is hitting the lead group from the side right now, as Bora really pick up the tempo, and get themselves into echelon formation.
FDJ sense the danger and bring Pinot to the front.
Puncture for Mollema. Not a good time for that.
And now a mechanical for Pogacar.
A quick change for the rim-braked UAE rider. He's on his way back, as Mollema gets back on.
50km to go
So into the final 50km we go and De Gendt is alone out front on a madness with a lead of 35 seconds over a lead peloton that contains all the GC riders but only one pure sprinter (Coquard), plus a number of more versatile sprinters (Sagan, Trentin, Van Aert). We reach Castres with 44km to go.
We've spoken about Jumbo and Ineos, but FDJ also have seven of their eight riders here. Bahrain McLaren, Astana, and Movistar also have decent numbers.
Several soigneurs have chosen this as a feed zone and so it's musette time in the main peloton. That allows De Gendt to move out to 50 seconds once more.
44km to go
Jumbo-Visma hit the front on the approach to Castres. We're still going downhill and the speed is high. So far it's been all Bora and a bit of B&B, but the strongest team in the race are now coming to the fore.
Hofstetter's shorts are badly ripped after that crash and he gets a hand of support on the back from a teammate. The French sprinter was fourth on the opening day and could be a dark horse here. He won Le Samyn earlier this year with a strong sprint after a tough day.
And now Ineos take it up on the other side of the road to Jumbo. The rivalry is symbolised as they take opposite ways round the roundabout.
Ineos and Jumbo taking it up is a sign things are snapping back into life again. Everyone's aware of the threat of the wind on this 40km run-in to Lavaur.
De Gendt is still out there but his lead is 30 seconds and falling. The cameras keep panning back to the Bennett group at 6 minutes but they're an irrelevance now.
Problems for Landa! Not sure what happened there.
Landa, Bilbao, and Mohoric get caught in a three-man Bahrain tangle. Landa gets back on his way pretty quickly but Ineos have upped the pace once more. Not good from Landa, who's had a stress-free start to this Tour but always does something wrong. He was one of the crosswind victims in Albi last year.
38.5km to go
Landa is chasing with his teammates but this isn't going to be easy. Ineos have their full team on the front now.
It's Van Baarle on the front for Ineos as they head through a town. It's built-up so no wind threat here. De Gendt has 15 seconds.
It's not full gas just yet so Landa should make it back on, if he hasn't already.
We head back out onto the open roads now and this is where it could hot up again. De Gendt is about to be caught
35.5km to go
De Gendt is caught as the road turns right through a roundabout. Van Baarle has peeled off but Ineos take it up now and ramp up the speed.
Kwiatkowski, a master of last year's crosswinds, takes it up and this is stretching!
We've got a few trees but it's an exposed road and the wind is a cross-tail! Splits already!
The splits are happening further down the group. At the front, Alaphilippe comes through and does a turn.
Plenty of domestiques on the wrong side of the splits - Gaudu, Reichenbach, Gesink, and others. Haven't see any GC contenders caught out yet.
Race leader Adam Yates comes through at the front now. He may be putting his nose in the wind but it's worth the effort to stay on the right side of any splits.
The lead peloton has now split in three.
We do have damage!
Landa and Pogacar in the second split.
Porte in the third split.
Still 31km to go and at this pace those three riders are in real trouble here.
Trentin and Van Avermaet are also in the second split. Nightmare for CCC, who have numbers and no excuse
The second group with Pogacar and Landa is already 35 seconds down! Wow...
If Landa hasn't learned his lesson from Albi last year, Pinot has. His teammates are taking control now, exchanging turns with Ineos up front.
Mollema is also caught out. He's also in the second group. Nightmare for Trek as well.
The front group is riding hard, with Astana and EF also helping drive this along.
E C H E L O N S 💨B O R D U R E S 💨#TDF2020 #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/a6X5JBweypSeptember 4, 2020
24km to go
Into the final 25km and those last 10km have absolutely flown by. There's no let-up here. The front group is large, but staying together for the time being.
Jumbo's climbers are throwing themselves into this echelon as Landa, Pogacar, Mollema, Porte slip to 55 seconds.
Astana look really good here. Yesterday's winner Lutsenko doesn't seem to be feeling the effects.
Still more than 30 riders up front as we come onto a less exposed section of the course, through a village. There's no let-up, though, as a few big names have been caught out and the rest can come together to ensure the damage.
Coquard, Sagan, and Van Aert are still in the front split.
The second and third splits have come back together and so we have two large groups a minute apart with 19km to go
The gap has stabilised now as FDJ take it up in the front group.
Carapaz dropped. Not sure how that happened but the Ineos rider is alone, 40 seconds down on the lead group.
Carapaz punctured. He won't be seeing the front of the race again. Ineos can't afford to drop anyone back.
15km to go
Into the final 15km and Astana, FDJ, and Jumbo are the teams doing most to drive this on as we head through another village.
Carapaz started the day 41 seconds down on GC.
Well, Ineos have dropped a rider back for Carapaz. It's Castroviejo, who now has to use his TTing skills to close a 36-second gap. It's a surprise they've taken a rider away from Bernal like that, and it's a sign Carapaz is to be used as a plan-B, despite losing time at Orcières-Merlette.
12.5km to go and it's out onto the open road once more. It seems we've got a pretty much direct tailwind now, as the lead group is working to keep the gaps rather than split the race again. Chasing in a tailwind is a thankless task, and the second split - Landa, Pogacar, Mollema, Porte - are simply in damage limitation mode.
The gap to that split is out to 1:15 now.
Flanders champion Bettiol is up there with Uran, and EF also have Higuita there. Martinez was dropped a long time ago.
10km to go
Into the final 10km and Alaphilippe hangs at the back of the front group.
Carapaz and Castroviejo slip to 55 seconds.
FDJ continue to drive this one forward, in what is something of a redemption tale after last year. Jumbo and Astana are still riding, but Ineos, with Carapaz chasing, have stopped rolling through. 8km to go!
It looks like this group will stay in tact until the line, but who will win the stage? Van Aert has to be the favourite, although Sagan arguably deserves it given Bora have single-handedly made this race today. Coquard is a real threat, though.
Coquard has a huge opportunity here. He's twice finished second at the Tour - famously in that photo finish against Kittel in 2016, but hasn't even raced the Tour since then. It would be a huge win too for Jerome Pineau's B&B Hotels-Vital Concept team on their Tour debut.
5.5km to go and the second group have stopped the rot, stabilising the gap at 1:15.
Carapaz and Castroviejo are absorbed into the second split at 1:15.
FDJ, Astana, and Jumbo continue to collaborate on the run-in. It'll get messy in the finale here. Jumbo have the most numbers so we'll see how they play this in terms of setting up Van Aert for the sprint.
UAE have three riders with Pogacar, while Landa also has a couple of men chipping in, but they're at 1:20 and taking a huge blow here.
2.5km to go and FDJ continue their work. That'll be a much happier bus today.
2km banner now. Boasson Hagen, Laporte, and Stuyven are in there and are possible wildcards for this sprint.
The road narrows as we head into the final kilometre! Here we go! FDJ still on the front
NTT take it up now for Boasson Hagen
It's a lead-out for NTT, but Alaphilippe is sprinting now!
Alaphilippe has to stop and waves his arm in remonstration. The sprint continues and it's Coquard against Van Aert
Van Aert takes it!
What a sprint from the Belgian, who takes his second stage win of this Tour. Coquard was coming up on the left but Boasson Hagen held firm for second place down the middle
Watch the clock now... the second group comes home... 1:20 down.
That's a big blow for Landa, Pogacar, Mollema, and Porte.
Alaphilippe clashed with Stuyven in that sprint. That'll be one to keep an eye on.
Sagan finished outside the top 10 there. He had a wild sprint, looking boxed in on the right before swinging over to the left, stopping, and then sprinting a bit again. After all Bora's work, that's a disappointing end.
|Place||Rider (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma||03:32:03|
|2||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) NTT Pro Cycling|
|3||Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept|
|4||Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis|
|5||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|6||Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale|
|7||Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|8||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers|
|9||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott|
|10||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team|
|Place||Rider (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||30:36:00|
|2||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:00:03|
|3||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||00:00:09|
|4||Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers||00:00:13|
|5||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:00:13|
|6||Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:00:13|
|7||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:00:13|
|8||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:00:13|
|9||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:00:13|
|10||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:00:13|
Here's the sprint
🏁After a crazy Stage 7, @woutvanaert claims his second stage victory on Tour de France 2020 ! ↪️ Relive the last KM of Stage 7!Wout Van Aert remporte sa seconde victoire d'étape sur le Tour de France 2020 ! ↪️ Revivez le dernier kilomètre de l'étape 7 !#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/bKGRRdPGxtSeptember 4, 2020
😖😢#TDF2020 l #ThereIsNoTry pic.twitter.com/8xGp7UzUjkSeptember 4, 2020
A couple of jersey changes today. Adam Yates is still in yellow, but Sagan takes green from Bennett, and Bernal takes white from Pogacar.
Let's hear from our winner
"I’m really proud of this win. Straight from the gun it was all out and I have to say that it was an impressive stage from Bora-Hansgrohe because they went flat out on the first KOM and made sure a lot of sprinters were dropped already. After that, it was always hectic and everyone feared the crosswinds.
"In the final, we saw that it was worth it to put a lot of energy into positioning, and I was with Primoz [Roglic] the whole stage in the front, so it was a good day for the team. A few favourites from the GC lost a lot of time. It was a good finish and incredible to win.
"I focussed on Primoz but I didn’t expect it to be such a mess in the end. It was quite a small group and so it would have been shame to not give it a try from a smaller bunch sprint. I think the guys launched a sprint early and I was able to have some slipstream and find a gap on the right side, and I timed my sprint perfectly.
"I didn’t expect [to win] this morning, so I have to say that this one is more of a surprise. It was a surprise for everyone on the team that it was such a hard stage today. It’s a great one to finish this off."
"It was not a great day for us because we lost most of the team in the split," says Alaphilippe.
"I was really well positioned for the sprint but I unclipped and so couldn’t do the sprint properly. It was full gas right from the start, from kilometre zero, we didn’t have time to think."
Here's our report page
Let's hear from Sagan, courtesy of France Télévisions
"We did a similar stage in 2013, which I won. We pulled the race all day, to get rid of sprinters, and that day I went and won. This time, it was similar but without the win. I’m very happy with my teammates because they did a really extraordinary job. We decided together together to do it. The director at first didn’t really agree but the race went very well, and even the directors were happy in the end. I was unlucky in the sprint because my chain got blocked.
"It was a mechanical problem, yes, but that wasn’t the whole story. I was behind Van Aert, but then I got out of position, and everybody went left, I tried not to fall but I collided with someone, I don’t know who, and my chain came off. I’m lucky to not have crashed. After that, it was impossible to get to the front."
The yellow jersey speaks
"In the end it was a really tough day. It was on from kilometre-zero to the finish, and we never really had a rest. Bora wanted to take it up all day. It would have been nice to have a rest ahead of the Pyrenees but it wasn’t possible unfortunately.
"It’s going to be a hard stage, both stages. I actually know a lot of the climbs already from previous races and recons. We’ll try and stay in the lead for as long as possible."
We've gathered all the snap post-stage reaction into one place, so head to the link below for Pogacar, Sagan, Van Aert and more.
41 riders finished in the front group, 1:21 ahead of the second split of 34 riders. The Bennett group finished 14:32 down, just ahead of that Ewan group at 15:54. In the GC, Pogacar, Landa, Carapaz, Mollema, Porte, and Chaves are the big losers, while the top 11 overall now contains four Frenchmen and four Colombians.
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